The terms of reference for the appointment of an independent facilitator to guide further investment in adult community learning disability services in the Western Trust were sent to Chief Executive Elaine Way last month, according to the Health Minister Michelle O’Neill.
Ms. O’Neill said she intends appointing the facilitator to allow carers and family members co-produce a plan on how to spend a proposed additional £5m on services for adults with learning disabilities as a matter of priority.
The move follows controversy over a £7m underspend or “capitation variance” in such services, which has been brewing over the past year.
Speaking on Monday, Ms. O’Neill, said: “I have repeatedly made clear my commitment to ensuring that the issue is resolved.
“Actions are being taken forward to facilitate that, and I have met the families involved.
“I have made arrangements for the appointment of an independent facilitator to work with the trust and the families to restore relationships so that a plan for further investment in adult community learning disability services in the area can be developed as a matter of priority.”
She said details were sent to Ms. Way before Christmas.
“The terms of reference for that work have been finalised, going initially to the chief executive of the Western Trust in December,” said Ms. O’Neill.
“They require me to approve the appointment of a facilitator, which I will do following further engagement with representatives of the families in the area. I have also appointed a senior official from my Department to oversee progress and act as the point of contact for the families. Arrangements are being made to facilitate a meeting between the Health and Social Care Board and the families to discuss the capitation formula, because this is a complex subject, and I know that the families are keen to understand and know more about it.”